Learn how to implement Atomic habits in your life and how they will change your life

aka: formed modelling habit formation

Power of Habit

Firstly what is a habit? habits are a routine or practice performed regularly, an automatic response to a specific situation. ok, then what is Atomic; itis the source of immense positive energy or power. Over the course of the next 10 weeks, there will be a blog each week surrounding an atomic habit that you can implement. Before that, I want to explain the concept itself and how Atomic habits can change your life and psychology.

Atomic Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.

If you implement daily habits, this is what it will look like after a year (See graph). Making a choice that is 1% better or 1% worse seems insignificant now, but these choices determine the difference between who you are and who you could be over a lifetime.

atomic habits chart showing result in time improvement and decline phases

1% worse every day for 1 year is 0.99^ (365) = 0.03

1% better every day for a year 1.01^ (365) = 37.78

Systems are better than goals for your health and they help you form habitual behavior for new habits. Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results. The psychology of habit formation is a system and if you put that in place, it will help you achieve what you desire. The ultimate purpose of habits is to solve the problems of daily life with as little energy and effort as possible. A habit is simply a behaviour repeated enough times to become automatic. Habit formation is so useful because the conscious mind is the bottleneck of the brain. When you have your habits dialled in and the basics of life are handled and done, your mind is free to focus on new challenges and master the next set of problems.

How to create good habits 

The 1st law (Cue): Make it obvious.

Over time, the cues that spark our habits become so common that they are essentially invisible: the treats on the kitchen counter, the remote control next to the couch, and the phone in our pocket. You must point things out to be glaringly obvious. If you want to read, put your book on top of your pillowcase for when you go to bed or if you want to run, leave your trainers in the middle of the hallway. Make a list of your daily habits. Mark them as good habits or bad habits; If it is a good habit, write “+” next to it. If it is a bad one, write “–”. If it is a neutral habit, write “=”. For e.g:

Wake up = 

Turn off alarm = 

Check my phone – behavior change

Take a cold shower +behavior change

This allows you to see very obvious what habits are helping your life and which are hindering your life. The more pluses you have, the better and which minus habits can you retract from your life?

Another useful trick is habit stacking.

This is attaching a habit to a normal daily task so it then becomes a routine. The formula is: “After I [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].”

Meditation: After I pour my cup of coffee each morning, I will meditate for one minute. Design a time and place and make it as specific as possible. It is also essential to determine your environment. The less self-control you need to use the better, make the habit as easy as possible to do. 

The 2nd law (Craving): Make it attractive.

When it comes to habits, the key takeaway is this: dopamine is released not only when you experience pleasure, but also when you anticipate it. For instance, gambling addicts have a dopamine spike right before they place a bet, not after they win. Cocaine addicts get a surge of dopamine when they see the powder, not after they take it.Temptation bundling works by linking an action you want to do with an action you need to do. For example, perhaps you want to hear about the latest celebrity gossip, but you need to get in shape. Using temptation bundling, you could only read the tabloids and watch reality shows at the gym.

One of the most effective things you can do to build better habits is to join a culture where (1) your desired behaviour is the normal behaviour and (2) you already have something in common with the group. This is the tribe and that is ONE Institute

The 3rd law (Response): Make it easy

If you want to develop healthy habits, the key to every habit to develop is to start with repetition, not perfection. You don’t need to map out every feature of a new habit. You just need to practice. This is the first takeaway of the 3rd Law: you just need to get your reps in. Each time you repeat an action, you are activating a particular neural circuit associated with that habit. The less friction you face, the easier it is for your stronger self to emerge. The idea is to make it as easy as possible at the moment to do things that pay off in the long run.The Two-Minute Rule states, “When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.”Start by mastering the first two minutes of the smallest version of the behaviour. Only then are you allowed to gradually add elements to the habit? Eventually, you’ll end up with the habit you had originally hoped to build while still keeping your focus where it should be: on the first two minutes of the behaviour.

Example: Becoming a vegan

  • Phase 1: Start consumıng vegetables at each meal.
  • Phase 2: Stop consumıng animals with four legs (cow, pig, lamb, etc.).
  • Phase 3: Stop consumıng animals with two legs (chicken, turkey, etc.).
  • Phase 4: Stop consumıng animals with no legs (fish, clams, scallops, etc.)
  • Phase 5: Stop buyıng all animal products

The 4th law (Reward): Make it satisfying.

What is rewarded is repeated. What is punished is avoided. We are more likely to repeat a behaviour when the experience is satisfying. Therefore, give yourself an immediate reward for each formation of habit you perform in your daily life. The human brain evolved to prioritize immediate rewards over delayed rewards. If you miss one day, try to get back into it as quickly as possible. Make a habit tracker so you can see how many days you have done in a row and continue to try to get this streak for as long as possible. 

“The first rule of compounding: Never interrupt it unnecessarily.” — Charlie Munger

This is why “bad” workouts are often the most important ones. Sluggish days and bad workouts maintain the compound gains you accrued from previous good days. Simply doing something — ten squats, five sprints, a push-up, anything really — is enormous. Don’t put up a zero. Don’t let losses eat into your compounding.

How does breaking bad habits form modelling habit formation in the real world?

• Inversion of the 1st law (Cue): Make it invisible. 

Reduce the exposure you have to a bad habit. Remove from your environment 

• Inversion of the 2nd law (Craving): Make it unattractive.

Reframe your mindset to convince yourself of the negative aspects of this toxic habit and highlight the benefits of not having this habit in your life.

• Inversion of the 3rd law (Response): Make it difficult.

Increase the friction, increasing the number of steps between you and your bad habit for a better behaviour change, Use a commitment device that restricts your future choices to be ones that benefit you. 

• Inversion of the 4th law (Reward): Make it unsatisfying.

Get an accountability partner, get someone who watches your behaviour. Make a habit contract that the cost of your action is public and painful, this will help new habits form.If you have read this far, I hope you are captivated by the influence that small habits can have on your life. Every week I will be posting a pattern that you can implement and different variations of the routine so you can choose what you think best suits the needs in your life. So, any suggestions for a habit or topic, please do not hesitate to tell me in the gym or simply contact me with your suggestion or idea Next week it will be about the power of gratitude……

Speak to you then

Ross

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